Portugal vs USA 06/22/2014 Free FIFA World Cup Soccer Group G Pick and Preview
USA vs Portugal
Sunday 22nd June 2014 23:00(GMT)
The Line: Portugal 4/5 Draw 14/5 USA 7/2 See the Latest Odds
TV: bbc; RTE; ESPN; Fox Sports; UTV
The United States shocked Ghana in the opening game of their tournament winning the game 2-1 with a late John Brooks header undoing the Ghanaians. Throughout most of that game the US were on the back foot though and Ghana created enough chances to win two or three games but were unable to fing the net. The thing is though that was partially due to bad finishing but also partly due to the intense defending by the US and the great goalkeeping from Tim Howard. Howard ,the Everton goaltender, will be key tonight if the US are to stop Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, there is no doubt the Portugese know they must win this game and while USA Coach Jurgen Klinsmann knows his side are up against it there is no doubt that there is belief in this squad. Clint Dempsey brings an all round game to the US team and leadership and experiene, he is not afraid of the big stage and the Seattle Sounders goal in the first game after thirty seconds embodied the US team's belief that they can qualify from this Group of death.
Portugal self destructed against Germany, they gave away a silly penalty in the fist few minutes and were caught napping at a corner kick for the second goal of the game. Then Pepe had a brain fart and was sent off for butting heads with Thomas Muller, Pepe has alwasy been a volatile sort but that sort of incredible stupidity when your team is a couple of goals down and needs leadership and inspiration is unacceptable. Cristiano Ronaldo was out of sorts against Germany, he does not look fit and while he probably still plays it will be hard for him to inspire his team if not 100%. Nani was good agaisnt Germany, brought the fight to the Germans on several attacks and was close to hittng the net on a number of occasions. His trickery on the wing will cause the US some concern today but the question is can Portugal find the net without Ronaldo at his best and with Hugo almeida looking like he may also miss the game through injury after coming off early against the Germans.
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I've looked at the value here and its hard to call. There is no doubt that the US at 7/2 look tempting , this is a good hard working side. Jurgen Klinsmann may have been downcast in public about his teams chances of qualifying but he clearly wasnt in private as they believe they can go through. For me though this game is going to come down to number 7, if Cristiano Ronaldo is even at 80% he will inspire Portugal to victory here. Thats how good he is. Portugal have a really good creative midfield behind him with Velosa, Moutinho and Nani with Meirieles there to win the ball back. While I would love to see the US get it done I dont think they will, I just feel like Ronaldo's quality down the other end will tell in the end. But my pick for the game is over 2.5 goals. I think that Portugal simply have to get the win here and will go all out for it, they will leave gaps for Dempsey to exploit and at the other end with Ronaldo and Nani I think they will find a couple of goals. Either way though this game is one of the ones I have been really looking forward to and although I am Irish I will be wearing my USA jersey for the night! Follow me on twitter@antonpippo